Researching New Tablets, Suggestions?

I think I got my first ereader, a Kindle, somewhere in 2012. I had all kinds of issues with it and had the first one replaced by Amazon. When the second started having the same issues less than a year later and long after the warranty expired, I began coveting Hubby’s amazing Nexus 7 because it was so much more versatile. We did some poking around and found it was probably the best option at the time (I’m only guessing that the time frame was in 2014).

Initially, I was really skeptical about how I felt about ebooks as I was a hardcore, have to have it in my hands, gotta own it, book reader at the time. My Nexus changed my mind completely and I’ve loved it to pieces ever since. The last couple of years, the poor thing has just been limping along, though. Whatever app I’m using (usually Kindle) will lock up and I have to close out my app, clear the cache, do a force stop on the app and restart to get it working again. Most times, I have to go through this process several times before it actually starts working again. I’m often even forced to restart the device a time or two before whatever is causing the glitch to clear up. Over the course of a few hours of reading, I will have to go through this process at least a couple of times, and more recently and frequently, more than a dozen.

I have removed every single thing from it except my reading apps. I have done all kinds of things (update/upgrades, uninstalled and reinstalled software, factory reset) and nothing has helped. I ended up stealing Hubby’s from him (he never actually used his) hoping maybe it was just something wrong with mine. His was perfectly fine after a factory reset until I got everything set up and started reading when his started doing the exact same things mine was before I transferred.

In technology terms, my little Nexus is probably the equivalent of a crotchety 90 year old with a walker and chronic constipation. It has a very similar attitude in that it will only go when it wants to and nothing is going to push it even a millisecond faster than it wants to go.

I’m now faced with the daunting task of researching a replacement. I kind of hate it because my Nexus technically works. It turns on. The apps do run, just not well, but it is becoming nearly impossible to actually use. Every time it throws a fit and locks up, I wonder if this is going to be the time I can’t get it back up again.

I’m not a fan of proprietary devices such as the Fires or the Apple products. What I am seeing with the little bit of research I’ve done is that outside of those, your choices are extremely limited because people are either using their phones or their laptops. I still love the smaller size (my Nexus is only a 7in display) and being able to carry it around with me or to walk around while I’m reading, but you have even fewer choices in those smaller sizes. My phone screen is too far on the small end of the size scale, so that isn’t much of an option.

It doesn’t help that I’m experiencing extreme creative envy over the kids’ new Chromebooks this year as they have the most amazing drawing stylus included and the keyboard folds flat so it can act like a tablet. I did look, but these are just WAY too big for what I will mostly use it for. I already have a laptop, so I don’t want or need anything like that.

I love the Samsung products, but I’m not really 100% happy with any of my choices there. There is one that I’m drooling over, but it is bigger than I want and so much more than I want to spend on what I will mostly use just to read. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do. I need to do something because my poor Nexus has come way to close to growing wings and learning to fly through the window one too many times lately.

If you read on a device, what do you use? Do you use it for more than just reading? What do you like or not like about it? Definitely looking for input if for no other reason than to try and convince myself I really don’t need that overly extravagant tablet to read my books on. Even if it does have the super nifty pen thingy.

Golden Threads

I honestly have no clue what this is, but it sort of looks like a stunning, massive golden threaded dandelion seed head. I loved the feathery look of this and I didn’t see another one the entire trip.

Golden Threads of Seeds
Golden Threads of Seeds
Golden Threads of Seeds
Golden Threads of Seeds

This was well worth taking the time to swap out my lenses so I could get the details from a macro shot.

Golden Threads of Seeds
Golden Threads of Seeds

Already?! It’s Only Day 2!

So BG has already had a fun event at school and it is only day 2. Last year, I think I posted about this kid at lunch that made her really uncomfortable during lunch at the beginning of the year. She quickly found a friend to sit with and that ended the situation without much fanfare or drama and never had an issue after that.

They didn’t have a normal lunch yesterday because of first day back activities, but BG has already learned that none of her friends are in her lunch period. She found a table that didn’t have anyone at it and sat there alone. When most everyone had made it in and was sitting, this kid from last year manages to find her table, which is still entirely empty, and sits in the seat right next to her. There are also other completely open tables in the lunch room and in the area of her table. But he chose to sit in the seat. RIGHT. NEXT. TO. HER. This kid then proceeds to be crude, chewing with his mouth open and attempting to talk to BG at the same time. She did her best to just sit quietly and ignore the kid, but he still persisted and made her exceptionally uncomfortable. He got up once to go get something and BG slid to another seat at the table, just to get some space because this kid doesn’t understand or care about some of those basic, unwritten social rules people tend to live by in an effort to avoid those awkward, uncomfortable situations.

She does not know this kid. She has never had a class with him before. She had never seen this kid before he sat next to her at lunch last year, and that lasted less than a week before she found some friends to sit with. Why this kid thinks it is okay is beyond me.

It is so incredibly frustrating because it is kind of this ugly, sticky situation. She is completely uncomfortable in all ways, but she doesn’t ever like to speak up, so she won’t say a word to this kid. She also won’t say anything to a teacher or a lunch monitor in an effort to get them to intervene because the kid hasn’t exactly done anything that would violate rules. She doesn’t like to rock the boat or do anything that could offend someone and is this whole other thing tied to the ugly fears in our schools nowadays. That whole “what if they are THAT kid?” If he has some sort of disorder that would make it hard or impossible for him to pick up on social cues (I have no clue if this is a fact, BG really can’t say one way or the other), it would make this a different kind of sticky, but it is still sticky.

Her solution to this problem is to talk to a teacher she had last year that is near her lunch room to see if she can come and eat in the teacher’s classroom instead (and may not get permission for any number of reasons). I get it. The school can’t fix a problem they don’t know about, but… She shouldn’t be forced to be uncomfortable. She shouldn’t have to fear speaking up when someone makes her feel that way. She shouldn’t have to find these exceptionally twisty, creative ways to avoid a situation that makes her that uncomfortable. It really is one of those “No real, good solution” kind of things and I honestly don’t know what the best advice is to give her. I just hope that the teacher she is going to approach will agree to let her eat in her room.

Did I mention this is only day 2? *sigh*

 

Book Review: The Blacksmith Queen, The Scarred Earth Saga – Book #1

Author: G.A. Aiken
Book Name: The Blacksmith Queen
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga
Order: #1
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Humor
Overall SPA: 5 Stars
5 Stars

 

 

Blurb:  The Old King Is Dead
 
With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 5/5 Stars
Believability: 5/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 5/5 Stars

When I first saw this book was the start of a new series, I was a tiny bit concerned it wouldn’t follow what I’ve come to know and love about G.A. Aiken’s style. You never really know for sure what you’re getting into with a new series and the blurb doesn’t quite do this justice, falling on the more serious side. Fans of the Dragon Kin series will be happy to know this series is set in that same world. Though there isn’t any kind of crossover just yet, the potential is there for future books.

Everything I’ve always loved about a G.A. Aiken novel is in this one. All the over the top, effortlessly badass female characters. The phenomenal, irreverent snark and humor layered into those intensely grotesque battle scenes. I don’t know another author that can make me laugh so hard about someone getting their head smashed to a pulp. Those things really shouldn’t ever be funny, but because of the way she writes, I cannot read and drink anything at the same time.

I was really surprised this went the direction it did with Keeley’s and Beatrix’s relationship. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I really did. It felt different for this author (unless I’ve forgotten something or missed a book in the past) to go that route.

Even though this is the same world as the Dragon Kin series and you get to see similar beings (dragons, centaurs), they are still unique to the part of the world this book is founded in. So, while similar in setting and general feel, it still has the sense of newness that I thoroughly enjoyed. The next book in this series cannot come soon enough.

For those new to G.A. Aiken, no need to worry. You won’t feel lost. If you love a little magic, a wide range of interesting types of characters, battle scenes and lots of humor (the kind that gets everyone looking at you funny when you snort, choke or belt out your most embarrassing laugh), you absolutely should be putting this one on your TBR.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Moving Sunrise

These are the last specific shots I’ll be posting from my Wisconsin trip. I find these kind of funny as one of my goals for the trip was to get both sunrise and sunset shots from the peninsula, yet the only sunrise shots I got the entire time were from the moving car the morning we left to go on the trip. Taking photos from a moving car is… interesting.

Foggy Sunrise
Foggy Sunrise

I didn’t get that many that turned out because I invariably ended up with a tree that had been right next to the highway end up in the center of my shot leaving me with a fogged out blurry mess. I still got a couple to show how amazing it looked that morning, but I seem to have missed the best ones with the fog shrouded trees all the way up to the highway’s edge.

Foggy Sunrise On The Move
Foggy Sunrise On The Move

So that one isn’t great (at all), but you can get a sense of what I was talking about. We hit a couple of patches of really dense fog. At that time of day it makes it really interesting trying to drive. It added to the eerie feelings a bit when you are the only car on the road at that time of day and you don’t see another one for over an hour.

Foggy Sunrise
Foggy Sunrise

This really was a beautiful start to what was an amazing trip.

Golden Foggy Sunrise
Golden Foggy Sunrise

Book Review: Fated, Alex Verus – Book #1

Author: Benedict Jacka
Book Name: Fated
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Series: Alex Verus
Order: #1
Genre: Fantasy/Uban
Overall SPA: 3 Stars
3 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Alex Verus is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London. And while Alex’s own powers aren’t as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future–allowing him to pull off operations that have a million-to-one-chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever’s inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none…

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 3/5 Stars
Believability: 3/5 Stars
Uniqueness Factor: 2.5/5 Stars

Personal Opinion: 3/5 Stars

I’m really on the fence with this one. For the most part I enjoyed it. Alex’s character was interesting. So was Luna’s issue with her curse. I just don’t think there was anything in particular about this book that made it stand out from any other urban fantasy out there.

I wasn’t a huge fan of how ugly every side of the magical community was portrayed (both Light and Dark), leaving Alex and maybe Luna to be what seem to be the only decent people in that community. There was plenty of focus on the actual magical parts of this, though little to no explanation of how it all works. There were also lots of action and fights for those that need loads of that in their books.

In all, this was a decent read, hitting slightly above “just okay” in the “good” range.

 

Bright, Sunshiny Day

It begins. I just saw MC off for his first day of being a Senior. My brain still hasn’t quite wrapped itself around that concept yet. Maybe I’ll have gotten a handle on it before he walks with his cap and gown. Maybe.

For now, I’m going to have a cup of coffee and one of our traditional first day of school treats: donuts. Then I have to wrestle our oldest cat off to the vet. Hopefully that will keep my mind from tying itself in knots over the Senior thing and the quiet in the house. At least for a while.

Making Changes

I am in the process of delisting my book from all ebook platforms with the exception of Kindle so that I can move over to KDP select and be on Kindle Unlimited. I absolutely hated to do this because it takes away my ability to be in libraries, but I wasn’t getting even that, so I’m going to have to go where I might get more traction.

I’ve never really wanted this project to be about sales, but sales have to play a part to some extent. I’ve always been more concerned about getting it read, getting it in front of the kinds of people that would get something out of it and trying to find a comfortable balance between those things. I honestly thought that being available on more platforms would be the better option for me, but it doesn’t seem to be, so I’m making changes.

There is no guarantee that those changes will make a bit of difference, especially since Amazon has now dropped me out of even showing up in results if you search for just my title (at least for a couple of pages anyway), which absolutely blows my mind. There are some seriously random and totally unrelated things that show up above me in the results and only because they have “unexpected” buried somewhere in connection to that item. Yay for algorithms telling us what we should be looking at instead of what we are actually looking for.

I am not giving up. I am trying to not be disheartened by this whole process. I just commented on a previous post and it applies to how I feel about it all at the moment.

“As a massive introvert, this is like facing a mountain with a roll of dental floss and a toothpick to help me climb and I’m standing at the bottom wearing a dress and heals.”

I’m just going to keep sending out my requests and copies of my book and hope that people follow through (thank you to the moon and back to those that have). I’m going to make whatever changes I think need to be changed when the way I’m doing things is no longer working. I am not giving up, just changing course a little bit, even if I feel like throwing in the towel.

So… That Was A Flop

I’m a little done with attempting new ideas with regards to getting book bloggers and indie authors together for now as there seems to be little to no interest. I will post anything interesting that I find in my own search on the off chance that it helps someone else out, but for now, there will not be a listing of participating bloggers. Sorry if I got anyone’s hopes up in that regard.

Book Review: Shadow’s Bane, Dorina Basarab – Book #4

Author: Karen Chance
Book Name: Shadow’s Bane
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Series: Dorina Basarab
Order: #4
Genre: Fantasy/Urban/Romance
Overall SPA: 4 Stars
4 Stars

 

 

Blurb: Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. As one of the Vampire Senate’s newest members, Dory already has a lot on her plate. But then a relative of one of Dory’s fey friends goes missing. They fear he’s been sold to a slaver who arranges fights—sometimes to the death—between different types of fey.

As Dory investigates, she and her friends learn the slavers are into something much bigger than a fight club. With the Vampire Senate gearing up for war with Faerie, it’ll take everything she has to defeat the slavers—and deal with the entirely too attractive master vampire Louis-Cesare….

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 4/5 Stars
Series Expectations: 4/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 4/5 Stars

It had been a while since I’d read any books in this series so it took me a bit to get back into it. Once I did, I was kind of kicking myself for taking so long to pick this one up, because I really enjoyed it, even if I’d felt a little lost at times because I’d forgotten so much.

I’ve enjoyed all the other books in both this series and in this world, so I don’t have a clue why I hesitated. I really like all the characters and the world and always have. I think the one thing, and it is the thing that maybe holds me back, is that these do tend to be long and sometimes feel slow even with all the action going on. You also have that constant feeling of Dory being knocked on her butt, barely getting back up and then getting knocked right back down again before she’s even gotten then chance to catch her balance. That can be hugely frustrating because it feels like you don’t get anywhere. It was great getting to see the new direct interaction between Dory and Dorina in this book, though.

I’m really torn on what to think and feel about Mircea. Anyone that is reading both this series and the Cassie Palmer series sees two very different people being presented in each of them. I get that the books are supposed to focus on Dory or Cassie (depending on the series), but Mircea is a huge tie between them and is impossible to push to the side. Especially when you have a book like this that spends a lot of time focusing on one point of his history.

As always with these books, this was a hugely entertaining read, even with the pieces I feel like I’d forgotten. It may mean it is time for a reread marathon of the two different series.

Eagle Trail Hike

Our first hike of the trip was the 2 mile Eagle Trail. I really wanted to do this one in particular because of some of the pictures I’d seen online. They had shown that it had a lot of different interesting features. What I didn’t pay any attention do was the difficulty. Difficulty isn’t something that I’d ever really paid a whole lot of attention to, mostly because there isn’t anything like that around here.

Tree Root Covered Trail Floor
Tree Root Covered Trail Floor

For this trail, the difficulty wasn’t in incline or altitude change so much as how uneven a surface you were walking on. If it wasn’t a woven crisscross of roots, it was haphazard rocks. There were a couple of points near the water’s edge where the trail got incredibly narrow, which was fun when you ran into people hiking in the other direction.

Mossy Rock Lined Trail
Mossy Rock Lined Trail

The first third or so of this trail was heavily wooded with a few smaller rock formations along the way. It was such a rich, dark vivid green, it was almost unreal. I hate that none of my photos even come close to doing it justice.

Wooded Pathway
Wooded Pathway

It sort of reminded me of the kind of scenery you’d see in some fantasy movie with an enchanted forest, but not the dark, creepy kind. It was so pretty there under the trees. I could have spent hours in there just taking pictures and would have if it had just been me and not the entire family.

Moss and Fern Covered Mall Cave
Moss and Fern Covered Mall Cave
Rock Step Pathway
Rock Step Pathway

Once you got closer to the water’s edge, there were a lot more rocks and the landscape and feel of the space really changed, becoming harsher. Even though we were really close to the water, sometimes within a few feet, there weren’t a lot of places to see out onto the water because it was still really heavily treed.

Small Rock Wall Topped In Misshapen Trees
Small Rock Wall Topped In Misshapen Trees

One of the things that was really fascinating along this hike were all of these little cave like areas. Some were way bigger than others, able to hold multiple people and others would have been barely large enough for a small animal den. None of them went very deep into the rock, but were enough to give a sense of space and wonder. These were some of the kids favorite places to explore along the way.

Rocky Caved Area With Lone Tree
Rocky Caved Area With Lone Tree

The middle third of the hike was this really rocky area along the base of the bluff and the water’s edge. This was one of the most difficult areas of the hike because of all the rocks and how many narrow paths you had to take. There were more points where you could see out across the water, but there were still a lot of trees along the shoreline, which is something that kind of surprised me in general about the peninsula.

Eagle Trail Rock Formation Cave
Eagle Trail Rock Formation Cave
Tall Rock Bluff
Tall Rock Bluff

By the time we got past the last of the bluff area, things got back to being similar to how the hike started before thinning out even more. Even though it was only about a 2 mile hike in all, it was still pretty intense. I didn’t get any pictures after the rocks. Mostly because I’d already taken way too many and what I was seeing wasn’t much different, but also because I was about out of gas and getting cranky. I discovered the backpack I was using had a rough spot that rubbed on the skin on my shoulder since I was wearing a tank top and had to have my hand around the strap to protect it. We were all pretty wiped out at that point and were more concerned about just getting done. As exhausting as it was, it was an amazing hike.

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Abbi Waxman

Author: Abbi Waxman
Book Name: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Blurb: The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Let’s do this one a little differently, shall we? All the normal review pieces to follow.

10 Things I Learned Reading The Bookish Life of Nina Hill:
(Please read the below with extreme levels of sarcasm and snark; in a shrill excited tone if you prefer)

1) It is absolutely just awesome to have a “gay guy” as a fun accessory. This isn’t seen as offensive at all because it is just so cute and adorable and trendy! This amazingness is magnified when you find out you are actually related to one of THEM!

2) Being pretentious and judgmental is so THE thing and it makes a person unique and quirky and oh so funny!

3) When meeting previously unknown family members, it is like running into a copy of yourself. You will have this amazing, instant connection and have EVERYTHING in common all because of genetics. Having that blood tie means you are instant besties. Even the nasty ones turn around eventually.

4) Don’t you know? Women are ONLY irritable when their period is impending or they have a brain tumor, silly! The brain tumor is preferable.

5) If you have any feelings at all that aren’t perfectly positive, then you just need to get over it. No need to sit and dwell on those things as they are unimportant and get in the way. Besides! It is just SO easy to do!

6) Of course millennials are drunks! Don’t you know that wine fixes absolutely EVERYTHING!?

7) Who DOESN’T relate to the most instantly recognizable and common smell ever? Hasn’t EVERYONE smelled the inside of dogs’ ears?!

8) If you want to fit into the Pompous American crowd, you must say things like “properly” to describe nearly everything and use phrases like “Fancy a cup of tea?” You aren’t properly Pompous if you don’t.

9) Women expecting men to want to actually get to know them for what is between their ears is so last year! It is absolutely okay to fall in love with a guy who can’t bother to listen to the words coming out of your mouth because they are so lost in their heads dreaming about anything and everything BUT what is coming out of your mouth. It is also okay to let go of any and all standards if they give great sex. *vigorous head nods*

10) Here is just the best!! (Feel free to drop the snark) Apparently it is okay to still write books in this day an age that disparages nearly every single subgroup that could in any way shape or form be considered “different” by dragging out the extreme levels of stereotypes and mocking them for being who they are.

Okay, that last may be a tiny bit of an exaggeration when I say every group, but it is still very applicable here. I’m not sure I’ve read a book that tried so exceptionally hard to be unique and quirky only to land as an extreme cliche’ instead. I also don’t think I’ve read a character that has come across as nearly so pompous and judgemental and disparaging of others, which is quite a feat as she had enough of her own issues, the last thing she should have been doing was pointing fingers at anyone else’s faults.

To summarize, I did not like this book. I didn’t find the humor funny, nor did I find the character the least bit cute or quirky. Even if I could take those things away (which was a huge chunk of the book), I wouldn’t have cared one tiny bit about the romantic aspects because they very nearly didn’t exist. A couple of conversations that contain less than a dozen words each and suddenly you “know” the other person. Uh, nope. Doesn’t work for me and made worse by the truly awful “make-up” ending.

I was only at about the 20% mark when I began really wondering what all the fuss was about and why on Earth so many people love this so much. I was ready to put it down, but I really wanted to figure it out so I finished it. I still haven’t figured it out. I get sometimes needing to just laugh at the world around you, but this really missed the mark for me.

 

Overall SPA: 2 Stars
2 Stars

 

 

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 2/5 Stars
Believability: 2/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 2/5 Stars

 

 

Just At The Edge

I’m sticking with words about pictures today because if I were to give you other words, they’d probably be ugly and frustrated as that is very much the mood I’m in today.

As for the words about pictures, I took a ridiculous number of photos of water while I was away. Moving, reflecting, tiny waves breaking, splashes and just whatever I could try to get while I had it in front of me. This is one of many favorites from the trip because of the point in time I managed to capture this one. It is the moment before the little wave falls completely over the edge of the rock. I have so many in this sequence, both before and after, I could probably turn it into a video, but this one stood out for me. I’m certain I’ll have more water pics in the days to come, but this one seemed really fitting for today, that feeling of hanging on the edge.

Dandelion?

There were several of these outside of the place we were staying. I didn’t get many flower photos while I was gone as I felt pressured to “move along” and not take the time to swap out my lenses. I took the time to get this one, though because it was just so similar, yet different.

Yellow Dandelion(?) Flower
Yellow Dandelion(?) Flower

I say it is potentially some form of dandelion only because the flower looks like one. But, these were probably close to 3 foot tall and I’ve never seen a dandelion that is more than a few inches, unless it is the fluffy seed head that grows taller. Even that isn’t much more than maybe a foot or so.

Yellow Dandelion(?) Flower
Yellow Dandelion(?) Flower

There were so many really similar features, but on this they seem exaggerated, longer and ganglier than what I’m used to seeing in a dandelion. Even those fun little curls seemed to be so tall they couldn’t hold themselves up. The loops seem longer and don’t have the same clean, smooth curl a traditional dandelion seems to have (see image below).

Dandelion Curls
Dandelion Curls

I have no idea if this is in fact a dandelion, but it has to be some kind of very close relation.

Hanging My Head In Shame…

…or it could be banging my head on the desk. Right now, the two look very similar. After nearly 14 hours of non-stop data entry and tweaking what I thought I’d had in place before I lost everything with the Windows update, I had managed to get to a point where I thought I had nearly every base entry recovered. I did realize that there was a chance that my previous database wasn’t pulling my DNF numbers out of my overall books read count, so I couldn’t tell for certain what all I was missing. I had lost a lot of the smaller genre tags that I’ve created for my books and any notes I’d made, but I mostly had any new books added, give or take a few. I’d somehow lost some of my reread and DNF numbers, but for the most part I’d felt pretty good at what I’d been able to recreate.

I went to shut down the app and saw that it was somehow STILL tied to that Onedrive folder and I did not want that. I go to hunt down how to break that tie and see the folder has 4 instances of my database. All with different names and versions. Guess which version was in there? Guess what I learned about the search feature in Microsoft? It doesn’t search the Onedrive folder. Guess who was livid to have wasted nearly 14 hours of work? I was nearly in tears for the second time.

Yes, I’m thrilled to death I found my original database. I haven’t lost anything (that I can see so far), so that is a massive positive. I’m still pissed as hell because that version in the Onedrive folder had a different name entirely from the database I was using. The database I was using didn’t actually exist on my hard drive anymore because it had been replaced by that older version. This is something that should never, ever happen. Even if this had been an Office update rather than a Windows update, it should have never happened. Those files never should have been touched in any way, shape or form.

I’ve moved my active database to a different folder, hoping to prevent something like this happening again. It is in the same location I keep my photos as that is on an auto backup for my external drive, so hopefully that will mitigate any future problems.

I’m trying really hard to be grateful that I didn’t actually end up losing anything and going with the “lesson learned” mindset, but it is hard to do after the work I put into trying to fix it all. Yes, I probably (REALLY) should have found that Onedrive folder before I went to all that effort, but I had no clue that it didn’t show in search results when looking for files. I never even considered that would be the case. I do appreciate this process has pointed out a potential error in my numbers and forced me to remember my database needs to be backed up on a regular basis. None of that changes how pissed off I am at the whole damn mess.

I also need to go through all my Goodreads entries again, because I could have sworn my numbers were a little higher in my database before I lost it, so I still think the version I got was at least a few days behind, if not a couple of weeks. That means that even though I’ve recovered my data, I’m still not done having to go through it all and trying to find problems. *sigh* I just want to sit down and read!!

 

Book Review: What You Did, Claire McGowan

Author: Claire McGowan
Book Name: What You Did
Release Date: August 1, 2019
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Overall SPA: 3 Stars
3 Stars

 

 

Blurb: A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.

Main SPA Evaluation Areas:

Characters: 2.5/5 Stars
Believability: 4/5 Stars
Personal Opinion: 3/5 Stars

This book has left me really torn. How do you like a book, but not like any of the characters? That isn’t to say they weren’t well written, because I think they were amazingly written. I just thought that there wasn’t really a decent human in the entire mix. Every single one was self-absorbed and self-serving to one degree or another, some being exponentially worse than others. This includes the kids. If I had to say that one character was at least partially likeable, it would be Bill, but even he had issues.

I had originally liked Ali, or at least felt a sort of understanding for the position she was put in, but as the story moves forward and she begins to make certain choices, I really soured on her and her self-serving motives.

Even though I didn’t like the characters, the story still worked well. There were directions I saw the story going and it did go there. Then there were a couple of twists I did not see coming at all, which I really enjoyed. I think I probably would have been perfectly content to say that this was a really good book until I hit the final chapter. That felt like it was just a bit too much and pushed me into eye roll territory because it didn’t feel necessary and took away from all the drama that had just occurred.

Please note, anyone that has issues with rape will probably find this a difficult read. Not because it goes into graphic detail or glorifies it, but just with everything that surrounds it and the ever present attitudes towards victims.

*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Feel Like Crying and Screaming – Technical Difficulties

I have lost a year and a half of book data from my personal database. I went to enter my latest read and something looked off when I opened the app. When I realized my dashboard didn’t have all of my latest changes I was really confused. Then I went to look at the latest entry and it was from early in March 2018.

How could I have somehow reverted to an extremely old version of said database you ask? Why Microsoft, of course! My computer demanded I update my version of Windows the other day or I would no longer be on a supported version. Multiple hours later and me giving up to get sleep instead, I log in and everything seems to have upgraded with no problem. Until I opened MS Access.

Apparently, the idiots missed a glitch that pulled information from their useless Onedrive folder (which I had disconnected from almost immediately after testing it out as it was glitchy as all hell and only useful for my grocery list, so I’m still baffled at the version I got), and OVERWROTE the database stored on my computer. You do NOT code upgrade software that at anytime EVER overwrites personal data files on a computer!!! Dipshits in QA need to have some conversations with my Hubby to learn how that shit is supposed to be tested.

I was absolutely devastated. I have been keeping track of my books for YEARS in this database. Constantly making tweaks and changes to make it better, easier to use and pull the kinds of information I’m looking for. I do also keep track of my books on Goodreads, thank goodness, but I keep so much more information in my database that I can’t keep track of in Goodreads (personal notes and where I reviewed it for example) and is why I kept using it after I found Goodreads. It doesn’t help one tiny bit that I’m a bit of a flake sometimes and forget to enter a book in both locations. Yes, I can probably recreate what I’ve lost, but it is going to take me hours if not days and I’m most likely not going to be able to get it all.

I’d also made some significant changes in the last year. New reports and summaries I was keeping track of. All of it is gone. I could absolutely kick my own ass about the whole thing as well because I JUST got a new external hard drive to back up all my important stuff, like my photos, and somehow I managed to overlook backing up my database, otherwise I would have only lost maybe a week or two of books. Believe me, I have dug and searched all through my computer and my version no longer exists in any form.

I’ve slept on my grief over the loss and I’m still infuriated and frustrated, but the only thing I can do is whatever I can to rebuild it. I’m trying to see the positive side of this in that I didn’t get a version that was years older than the one I got, but it’s incredibly hard to see any loss as positive. I’ll be getting my review  written and posted, but then I’ll be buried in my Goodreads and Amazon records working to get it all back. I can only hope it doesn’t piss me off any more than I already am or my computer may grow wings and fly out the window. Whether that window will be open first remains to be seen.